Nuisement tells us that Secret Fire from Sun cannot arrive directly. But through an expedient, and if you are thinking of Moon you are to receive a surprise.
Clovis Hesteau de Nuisement is an early seventeenth century french author mainly known for his treatise on the Harmonie et Constitution du Vrai Sal, or harmony and constitution of the real salt, 1621. The “real salt” being our Secret Fire.
Nevertheless in the book the concept considered in this article, that’s to say the arrival of Secret Fire from the Sun to the Earth, is hardly or badly revealed. In fact it is better communicated in another Nuisement’s work, namely “Poème Philosophique de la Verité de la Phisique Minerale”, or philosophic poem on the truth of mineral physics, Paris 1620. A kind of passionate pamphlet, arranged with a metrical rhythm, to refute all objections against Alchemy in general. And against Secret Fire or the real salt, in particular.
The translation of excerpts from this Nuisement collection of sonnets would be boring and uncertain, due to his “artistic” pretension packed with mythological references as well as hyperboles. So I will spare you, instead giving a brief, though less creative, statement of the main points. Nevertheless, from time to time, I will let Nuisement display all his baroque imagination and expression. Whose we will soon have a taste.
Poème Philosophique, page 62: “ Di moy donc si le ciel en terre doit descendre; ou plustost au ciel la terre doit monter?” So tell me whether is the Sky to have to come down or rather is the earth to ascend to sky?
We know that the rule of three, by which every alchemical concept stands for at least three different meanings, seems to perfectly fit to Sun, Moon, Earth and Sky. In fact very often these terms are allegories for fixity, volatility, elements and so on (1). This time they are really representing their literal significations: our astronomical references. But I have not yet been exhaustive enough, because our astronomical references play more than one role in Alchemy. In this occasion I consider them as Secret Fire, or real salt, source (2). And in this article I will deal only with the landing of our Secret Fire from Sun to Earth (3). Philolaus called this world as “Cosmos” (4). The two Nuisement’s books content deals with the concept of Secret Fire from “Cosmos” as an Alchemy key and foundation, which no one exactly knows what it is, but from the effects on our “matters”. A comprehensive description of all Secret Fire aspects would result of an hypnotic and disordered complexity. Thus, from my experience, it is much better to focus on specified aspects at little dosage and let our minds to unconsciously put them together.
Generations of alchemists have informed us that the Sun is our galaxy source of inexhaustible Secret Fire. But what we are not being told is that we are presently forbidden to collect it directly. And we have honestly to admit that we don’t know why. I used the first plural pronoun, since I have always judged almost all of the alchemical authors explanations as being not very sound.
I don’t see the rational in the ancient theory of the Sun acting as a male and Moon as female, which is a ludicrous inconsistency. The Sun has not reproductive organs, so I cannot see in what way it could be male. And additionally was not of every culture to give masculine attributes to the Sun: for example in German cultural environments the Sun is female, while male is the Moon. In Sabian and ancient Egyptian traditions was the same. Of course the cultural traditions were translated from society aspects, not the other way. Thus when ancients wanted to suggest a passive Moon role they defined it as “woman” and “Man” the Sun. But why Moon is defined passive? Because it was easily imagined that our satellite shined of reflected solar light.
Neither I mean to retake the twentieth century theory of Sun-Moon polarity of positive and negative “Od” ( see Reichenbach). It is very difficult to expel from our minds the idea of Alchemy as a polarity game. Alchemy, yes, is a game of attraction (5), nevertheless not an attraction between contraries or complementaries, as there is not a single moment in alchemical works in which a contrary attracts the other contrary. I don’t even understand what could possibly be a contrary in Alchemy. The existence of complementaries is only in our human-biased illusions. In Alchemy we have fixed, volatile, and moreover we have densities. We are always before a less dense Mercurius attracted by a denser one. The same is between Sun and Moon.
So the Sun is a huge Secret Fire producer, which it scatters everywhere around. And it does the same with light. We presently do not know if Secret Fire travels together with sunlight. But there is an evidence proving that Secret Fire and Light are two different things: during the day, from the earth frame of reference (6) Secret Fire is not allowed to arrive to the ground, but limits itself to linger in the higher atmosphere layers. It is only during our night, when the Sun is on the other side of our planet, that Secret Fire can finally descend to the earth surface to go deeper and deeper. In fact Secret Fire seems to love dark conditions. A sunny day is mostly good for cooking or magnetization, that’s to say destruction by exposition to hot and a successive cold (7). But at this point it is better to called the Secret Fire with its ethereal and celestial name, Spiritus Mundi.
Just an observation: have you ever noticed how difficult is to light on a fireplace at noon or first afternoon? And conversely how easy is the same operation after midnight? For similar reasons we use to work in our extractions and sublimations during the night. And stop ( when we can stop) before dawn. Because a dark sky is usually teeming with Secret Fire/Spiritus Mundi, while a sunny day is surely nice for a trip but lacks of Secret Fire.
Poème Philosophique, page 62: “When is the night of the Sun is the day of the Moon; from the lunar coldness to lunar heat, When the Moon gets darker in its chill, it receives from the Sun the radiant luminosity”. So, according to Nuisement, is the Moon to “deliver” Secret Fire down to the ground. Many alchemist state that the “secretions” from Moon are thicker in matter, so less dense in Spiritus Mundi than the Sun. Pay the right attention to this concept, since it is very important. Fulcanelli says that these lunar secretions do represent the ideal archetype of the Mercurius we should achieve in our vessels: a white translucent viscous, but impalpable, substance. John French in his treatise on the Art of Distillation reserves a chapter to the direct extraction of these lunar secretions through sponges. I really doubt he would have ever extracted the like of this. But it is true that if you stand facing at full moon and close your eyes, you can “feel” a kind of cool and viscous breeze. Nevertheless succeeding to gather it is a whole different task.
We common alchemists can only hope to collect our Spiritus Mundi, also known as Mercurius Universalis, once fallen to the ground, at the end of a bright and cloudless night ( although rain water is also a good recipient of Secret Fire). But what actually and effectively does “grasp” Secret Fire down?
To make himself clearer Nuisement comes up with nothing better than to quote some verses from Tabula Smaragdina: “ The Sun is its father, Moon is its mother………and the wind brings it in its belly”. So it is air, the gaseous mixture entering our lungs, to literally trap and seize Secret Fire down. To be honest there is no evidence of that, but the tradition. On the left we can see a piece of that transmission of customs chiselled on a VII B.C. phoenician bracelet found in Sardinia. And this will lead us to another historical tradition on Spiritus Mundi composition: the idea of our Mercurius inevitably being different and other than ineffable light, but rather looking like tiny corpuscles moving and acting as a fluid. The concept will be better explained in the next article ” The Lady of the Wind“.
Let’s end announcing a topic that Nuisement introduces with these verses on page 63: “So tell me whether is the Sky to have to come down or better is the earth to sky ascending?” . It really is the best conclusion, since as we will see in a next article, our Earth uses to send again Secret Fire to the Sun in what might have appeared to alchemists as a huge breathing.
Just a final question: is the moon reflecting Secret Fire along with solar light? And, conversely, could the Moon be a springboard for Secret Fire to return to Sun?
- See also Suns and Moon at the Turn of the First Millennium and Philosophia Reformata, Father Sun and Mother Moon ;
- See also Basilius, Azoth, Salt or Philosophers Gold? ;
- See also Busa di Manna, the Sinkhole ;
- See also Thesaurus Hermeticum & the Dry Pythagorean River , Orthelius Commentary on Sendivogius. Preface ;
- See also Ostanes & One Nature etc and Atalanta Fugiens and The Golden Apples ;
- See also San Miniato Sun Path or the Sky as seen from the Earth , Voynich Manuscript and the Unknown Part of the Rhythm , Santi Pupieni and the Raising Black-New Moon ;
- See also Cesare Ripa and the Hot Frozen Ouroboros World Machine ;